LA&PS DARE 2020 winners display outstanding research in virtual gallery

The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies is celebrating this year’s cohort of 48 students who received the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence (DARE) this summer, with a special virtual gallery.

J.J. McMurtry

“It gives me great pleasure to celebrate your outstanding academic accomplishments,” LA&PS Dean J.J. McMurtry said, congratulating students on their summer research achievements.

Now in its third year, DARE awards each student $5,000. As part of the award, students have an opportunity to work with a LA&PS faculty member on a designated research project during the summer term. Typically, students would celebrate their research on campus during a DARE Research Poster Session and Celebration, but this year their work will be virtually recognized on the LA&PS website.

“The range of the research done this year is extraordinary and reflects the diversity of research going on in LA&PS – from the use of history in video games, to how we manage wildfires, Muslim perspectives on BLM, and cybersecurity in cloud computing,” LA&PS Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies Ravi De Costa said, adding, “The quality is outstanding. Given the circumstances this year, it’s a testament to the determination of faculty members to continue their research and of our students’ commitment to challenging themselves and to testing what they have learned in more complex projects.”

DARE bridges a gap between theory and advanced research methodologies for undergraduate students who otherwise would not have opportunities to work directly with faculty, explained Disaster and Emergency Management Professor Aaida Mamuji.

“The DARE program has proven to be very beneficial for both students and their supervisors alike. Students get personalized mentorship in developing advanced research skills, including in primary data collection and analysis, in a way that is not possible in most classroom settings. And as their supervisor, I am motivated by the enthusiasm for research that the students bring to the table,” she said.

Ijaabo Mohamed
Ijaabo Mohamed

Students are equally as excited about the unique opportunities the program has given them. Fourth-year social work student Ijaabo Mohamed worked with Professor Chris Chapman on the project “Black Muslim Perspectives on Brutality, Abolition and the Black Lives Matter Movement,” where she learned how to be a more efficient researcher.

“I feel satisfied with the work that I have done these past few months for the DARE program. My poster turned out great and I learned so much,” she said, adding that she is extremely proud of herself for completing the work amid systemic anti-Black racism and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Humayra Rashid Safa
Humayra Rashid Safa

For fourth-year International Development Studies major, Humayra Rashid Safa, DARE is a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in interesting fields of study. Her project, “Green Jobs in Rising Africa” supervised by social science Professor Nathanael Ojong, allowed her to study various forms of socially sustainable jobs and initiatives started by people in Africa.

“Starting with solar energy in northern Africa to wind energy on the southern side of the continent, I had the amazing opportunity to study them all,” she said.

These opportunities, Safa noted, would not be available without the support of the York community.

“I would like to thank the donors of York University and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies for letting me have this opportunity. The funding I received from the program also helped me during the time of the pandemic,” Safa said.

This year’s DARE gallery can be viewed here online at